Speed Reads

'global phenonemon'

Netflix's Squid Game could be inspiring a wave of Korean language learning

If you've already finished binge-watching Netflix's South Korean hit Squid Game, try filling the nine episode-sized void with a Korean language course — as a bunch of other fans already have.

In fact, tutoring services have reported a spike in interest in learning Korean since Squid Game's debut, "underscoring a growing global obsession with South Korean culture from entertainment to beauty products," Reuters writes.

Language app Duolingo reported a roughly 40 percent increase in new U.S. learners studying Korean as compared to last year, "when the trend was fairly flat," the company said. What's more, there was a 76 percent rise in interest from British users, writes Reuters. Although it's not 100 percent certain, Duolingo believes the numbers (and also the tweets) suggest a wave of "Squid Game-inspired studying." Korean is the company's second-fastest growing language after Hindi.

"Language and culture are intrinsically connected and what happens in pop culture and media often influences trends in language and language learning," said Duolingo spokesperson Sam Dalsimer. Adding to the hype, the Oxford English Dictionary this week added 26 new words of Korean origin to its latest edition, "including 'hallyu', or Korean wave, the term widely used to describe the global success of South Korean" pop culture, writes Reuters.

Sun Hyun-woo, founder of e-learning platform Talk To Me In Korean, said there were still "thousands" of people wanting to learn Korean prior to the K-pop or Squid Game craze. Now, however, "they are part of a 'global phenomenon;' learning Korean has turned into a much cooler pastime." Read more at Reuters.